Celtics Hire Brad Stevens
The Boston Celtics were expected to take a younger coach who did not have much experience coaching in the NBA. While most people predicted that Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge would choose Jay Larranaga, Ainge made a splash by tabbing Brad Stevens as the 17th head coach in the franchise’s history.
Stevens has coached the past six years at Butler University where he led the Bulldogs to consecutive national title appearances in 2010 and 2011. The 36-year-old coach is five months younger than Kevin Garnett (37 years old) who was just traded to the Brooklyn Nets. Stevens compiled a 166-49 record at Butler and a 12-5 record in the NCAA Tournament. In a tweet from Yahoo! Sports’s Adrian Wojnarowski, revealed that Stevens’ contract is for six years at $22 million
The hiring of Stevens follows a recent trend of young coaches without much professional experience being hired. Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra was promoted as a head coach in 2008 when he was 37 years old. Indiana Pacers lead man Frank Vogel is just 40 years of age. Both of those coaches started their careers as video coordinators and they led their teams to the Eastern Conference finals with the Heat coming out on top and eventually winning their second consecutive NBA title.
Many people assumed Larranaga was auditioning for the head coaching job with his assignment as the organization’s Summer League coach in Orlando, but the Celtics chose Stevens who is a hard-working, analytical coach who preaches execution on both ends of the court.
There are some questions that Stevens must answer early in his tenure as the successor to Doc Rivers. How will Stevens handle Rajon Rondo? What measures will Stevens take to achieve success in the NBA? Both Stevens and the Celtics’ players will need to adapt to each other as Stevens will have to work with a shorter shot clock as well as the defensive 3-second rule in the NBA. Stevens’ offenses at Butler would chew up most of the 35-second clock in their half-court sets while the NBA has a 24-second shot clock.
The last time the Celtics plucked a coach from the college ranks was when Rick Pitino left Kentucky for the Celtics. Pitino tried to be a czar as he also became the team president. The relationship was not beneficial. The Stevens hire could work because he will be coaching young players coming out of college. These are the players Stevens has either coached against in the college ranks or was possibly attempting to recruit so that should be a comfortable arrangement. Ainge and Stevens will do the dance needed to form a partnership that will rebuild the Celtics into a championship contender again.